The increasing proportion of women in the medical profession has been followed keenly both by conservative and feminist observers during the past three decades. Statistics both in Europe and in the United States tend to confirm that women work mainly in niches of the health care system or medical specialties characterized by relatively low earnings or prestige. The segregation of medical work has become increasingly recognized as a sign of inequality between female and male members of the medical profession.
Medicine as a social organization is not a universal structure: Health care systems vary in the extent to which physicians work in the private or public sector and in the extent to which they have as a corporate body been able to influence their numbers and the character of their work. The aim of this book is not only to review and to provide an account of women's position in medicine but also to provide an analytical framework. The text revolves around three key issues that illuminate this argument: numbers, medical practice, and feminist agendas of women physicians. The issues are addressed in all the chapters but highlighted as central analytical themes in a cross-cultural context.
Challenging previous studies of the medical profession, which have assumed for the most part a gender-neutral stance, Riska's text provides a unique focus. Medical Careers and Feminist Agendas presents a comprehensive, cross-national analysis of the current status of women in three societies where the economics of medical practice vary considerably: a market society, a welfare state, and a formerly communist society in transition. Aimed at a wide audience, this book will be useful for years to come in medical sociology, the sociology of professions, and women's studies. Its historical breadth, current data, and trenchant probing will furnish practitioners and policy-makers alike with a needed analytical tool.